The best engine in the range

What is it?

The Audi A5 2.0 TSI, which features a 2.0-litre blown motor featuring Audi’s more sophisticated ‘Valvelift’ induction technology.

The engine is available in two states of tune – 178bhp and 208bhp – and with either front- or Quattro four-wheel drive; it’s the more powerful Quattro we’re testing here.

What’s it like?

We thought the 1.8-litre turbo version of this car was good; the 2.0-litre’s even better, and makes the A5 fast, refined and economical too.

Its 208bhp may not sound like a lot, but it’s torque that provides this car’s zealous performance. There’s 258lb ft of the stuff available from 1500- to 4200rpm, and in addition to making this car capable of scrambling to 62mph in 6.5sec and hitting 153mph flat out it gives prodigious mid-range urge.

Quite why you’d ever buy a 3.2-litre petrol V6 in the light of that, which is thirstier, slower, higher on CO2, and only has 243lb ft of twist, seems mysterious to put it mildly.

Point it down your nearest interesting road and you’ll find this car feels planted and precise to drive. The Quattro permanent four-wheel drive gives it an aura of invincible sure-footedness, and though it’s clearly not quite as agile as a 3-series coupe, the A5 generates real satisfaction for the driver in its own way.

The engine feels a little reluctant at high revs, but only because it generates so much torque lower in the range.

You’ll need to be on a long and conservative run to get anywhere near Audi’s claim of 38.2mpg for fuel economy; our test route, which took in a mix of urban roads and motorways, showed that 32mpg will be closer to your everyday return. But for such a big-performing car, that’s not to be sniffed at.

Should I buy one?

If you want the A5 with the broadest catalogue of talents (we’d count refinement, decent economy, handsome looks, a spectacularly turned-out cabin, pace and sporting appeal among them), and you want it at the right price, look no further.

The same caveats apply here as they do throughout the A5 range; sport suspension compromises the car’s ride quality too much to be worth the outlay, but if you go for standard springs you’ll end up with a car that’s comfortable to ride in as well as being enjoyable to drive.

A 3.0-litre TDi has marginally better economy, but on a like-for-like specification basis, the six-pot diesel will cost you over £3000 more and it’s not quite as hushed. And though it’s slightly faster, the TDi doesn’t feel as athletic to drive.

Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders Autocar
Title: Road test editor

As Autocar’s chief car tester and reviewer, it’s Matt’s job to ensure the quality, objectivity, relevance and rigour of the entirety of Autocar’s reviews output, as well contributing a great many detailed road tests, group tests and drive reviews himself.

Matt has been an Autocar staffer since the autumn of 2003, and has been lucky enough to work alongside some of the magazine’s best-known writers and contributors over that time. He served as staff writer, features editor, assistant editor and digital editor, before joining the road test desk in 2011.

Since then he’s driven, measured, lap-timed, figured, and reported on cars as varied as the Bugatti Veyron, Rolls-Royce PhantomTesla RoadsterAriel Hipercar, Tata Nano, McLaren SennaRenault Twizy and Toyota Mirai. Among his wider personal highlights of the job have been covering Sebastien Loeb’s record-breaking run at Pikes Peak in 2013; doing 190mph on derestricted German autobahn in a Brabus Rocket; and driving McLaren’s legendary ‘XP5’ F1 prototype. His own car is a trusty Mazda CX-5.

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RobotBoogie 10 November 2008

Re: Audi A5 2.0 TFSI

I'm beginning to think it's me. And it probably is. But I am slap bang in the middle of the target market for this kind of car and it peers from BMW, MB, Porsche etc. and they just bore me to the point where I can hardly be bothered to read the eight paragraph review. Another pretty competent, inoffensively styled, vaguely sporty, slightly green, quite safe, slightly aspirational premium-ish German coupe with a price tag that is just a little too ambitious in the current climate and an interior which is impressive but smells too much like a tannery. Frankly, yawning is too much effort. 6/10. Must try harder.

SBK 10 November 2008

Re: Audi A5 2.0 TFSI

They are also taking orders for the 2.0 diesel version now for February delivery, but the 3% loading on diesel for company car tax takes it too far away from the 3 series. I agree having driven the A5 and 3 Series back to back the 3 is a more involved drive and the A5 is more of a grand tourer. The 3 is just so boring both externally and in the cabin and needs a makeover ASAP, whereas the A5 is a sheer delight inside, which after all is where you spend all your time stuck on the gridlocked network infrastructure, namely our road system!

On balance I think the Audi has it on looks and quality of build even though the BMW is better to drive, add that to the exclusivity of the A5 compared to the repmobile and I think I will be choosing the 2.0 TFSI Quattro Sport. So 22% tax it is then as opposed to 18%.

PhilM4000 7 November 2008

Re: Audi A5 2.0 TFSI

Having driven this model in front drive trim, 208 bhp is a bit much through the front wheels and it torque steers a bit but this is a proper blokes coupe and there is a real sense of occasion from the cabin. The BMW is a better driving tool ultimately, but in every other respect and overall I would havve the Audi and with this engine.

Think I will wait a few years until they are worthless though, it will be a great 2nd hand buy.